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Old 03-10-2013, 08:52 PM
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For some reason I was born with a love of mechanical things. At about 12 I built my first "put put" which was like BoothBoys wooden car with rope steering. My half brother who was 6 years older had a 49 Merc with a 392 Hemi and 14 coats of black lacquer that I thought had to be the coolest thing in the whole world. He lived about 100 miles away so I did not get much mentoring from him but there was a good bit of hero worship.

The bad thing was my dad was a classical pianist and thought anyone who fooled with cars could never amount to a "tinkers damn." I finally talked him into letting me buy a '49 Morris Minor that had a Ford V8-60 in it. The car was wrecked and it took about three months for me to get it on the road but it was waiting for me when I turned 16.

My father never let me drive on a country road or offered much incouragement. I really love to read the stories from our members who write about the time they spend in the high school parking lot with their son or daughter. I wish that I had more one on one time with my father. It took years for him to realize I was a success even though I did not grow up loving the things he did.

When my wife and I bought our first house I bought a '47 ford convertible basket case for 90 dollars. My neighbor kind of took me under his wing and gave me some metal working tools including the Beverly Shear I still own and my garage has had a project car in it of one sort or another for the past 45 years.

Dad always forbid me to have a convertible or a motorcycle. He claimed it was for my own good. As you guys know, my roadster is parked right beside the Harley.

John L

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:00 PM
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I owe many many people for their selfless support and teachings, but here is how it evolved....

My dad was my role model! He didn't hire anybody to do anything! As he remodeled houses... worked on his cars and trucks... shingled roofs... built a new house... etc. etc., he always had me help. He also talked me into spray painting my first bicycle... and he helped!

I got my passion for cars from models and magazines... then started going to the drags at 13. It didn't take long for me to decide I was going to eventually be a drag racer.

By the time I finished high school, I had rebuilt my first engine, and painted my first car. (Thanks Grandpa for the use of your garage!) A long, long, string of frame-up performance car builds happened after that... including helping friends build their street rods and drag cars!

I also had always had a love of art, but the racing and horsepower was originally a greater attraction. In 1971 I had a problem. Lots of people had supported my art, including providing lessons, a sponsored trip to the U of I summer art school, a job teaching art for the local parks department, and much more, but the passion for perfomance cars still dominated.

Then the summer of '71 a good friend, who was building and selling chopped bikes, offered to pay me to do some airbrush art on a chopper, and bought me some equipment. I loved doing it, so I did many more for him. Then about two years later a good friend offered to have me paint his '56 Corvette. I took the job. After that first couple years there was no doubt left in my mind!

I painted part time in Illinois... then continued after a move to Arizona. By '86 my dreams came together! I bought a shop and went full-time! That was 27 years ago, and I paid some heavy penalties... but I've never regretted the choice!

I have the best job in the world! I get to work on every kind of hot rod, custom, drag car, bike, muscle car, classic, etc. etc. etc... and I don't have to work at something I dislike, just for the money!

Also, my customers have the same passion, so it's like helping friends work on the toys that we both love so much!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by John long View Post
For some reason I was born with a love of mechanical things. At about 12 I built my first "put put" which was like BoothBoys wooden car with rope steering. My half brother who was 6 years older had a 49 Merc with a 392 Hemi and 14 coats of black lacquer that I thought had to be the coolest thing in the whole world. He lived about 100 miles away so I did not get much mentoring from him but there was a good bit of hero worship.

The bad thing was my dad was a classical pianist and thought anyone who fooled with cars could never amount to a "tinkers damn." I finally talked him into letting me buy a '49 Morris Minor that had a Ford V8-60 in it. The car was wrecked and it took about three months for me to get it on the road but it was waiting for me when I turned 16.

My father never let me drive on a country road or offered much incouragement. I really love to read the stories from our members who write about the time they spend in the high school parking lot with their son or daughter. I wish that I had more one on one time with my father. It took years for him to realize I was a success even though I did not grow up loving the things he did.

When my wife and I bought our first house I bought a '47 ford convertible basket case for 90 dollars. My neighbor kind of took me under his wing and gave me some metal working tools including the Beverly Shear I still own and my garage has had a project car in it of one sort or another for the past 45 years.

Dad always forbid me to have a convertible or a motorcycle. He claimed it was for my own good. As you guys know, my roadster is parked right beside the Harley.

John L
It's funny how different everyone is. You didn't get that encouragement but you followed your passion anyway. That is the thing that many parents miss, the passion IS there and it can't be taken away. My dad never worked on my truck with me , he was wrench challenged after all. But he always supported us having our own business. My brother, sister and I all did. When I look back at my high school graduation gift from them I guess they knew were I was going. They could have hoped and wished for a lot of things but they knew where I as going! No matter what John, you are who you are largely do to your parents they still deserve the credit for who you are. Even though your job wasn't exactly what dad wished, he probably had a lot of influence in the REST of you, which is usually a lot more than what we do for a living.

Brian

This is the gift they gave me.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:15 PM
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It's funny how different everyone is. You didn't get that encouragement but you followed your passion anyway. That is the thing that many parents miss, the passion IS there and it can't be taken away. My dad never worked on my truck with me , he was wrench challenged after all. But he always supported us having our own business. My brother, sister and I all did. When I look back at my high school graduation gift from them I guess they knew were I was going. They could have hoped and wished for a lot of things but they knew where I as going! No matter what John, you are who you are largely do to your parents they still deserve the credit for who you are. Even though your job wasn't exactly what dad wished, he probably had a lot of influence in the REST of you, which is usually a lot more than what we do for a living.

Brian

This is the gift they gave me.
My dad did a lot to teach me to do-it-myself... but I do remember him saying one time "I don't know why you waste your time on those damn cars". I got the last laugh when, almost twenty years later he would bring his friends over and give them a tour of my shop. :-) LOL!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:51 PM
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Back in the day...

Haha, I remember pulp wood. Some of the kids these days dont realize lumber comes from the hard working boys in the woods...you just go to Home Depot and there it is!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:59 PM
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Some of you were very fortunate. My dad didnt even know how to change the oil in his car. And we didnt have a lot of money. But I had a desire for cars that was just in me I guess. My first car was a 72 MGB. Got it for 500 bucks when I was 15. It needed a water pump shortly after I got it and I was on my own. Bought a repair manual for it and did it myself. From then on I wanted to learn more and just tried my best. Senior year in high school I got a 66 Nova for 1200 bucks. It had a power glide and a 350 in it. Me and my friend converted it to a m21 4speed. Looking back I still don't know how I figured it out! We didnt have the internet for help. Now days you can learn just about anything off the internet. Thats how I learned to paint my first car. I would say a lack of money and a strong desire can get you to do a lot on your own.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:05 PM
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Some of you were very fortunate. My dad didnt even know how to change the oil in his car. And we didnt have a lot of money. But I had a desire for cars that was just in me I guess. My first car was a 72 MGB. Got it for 500 bucks when I was 15. It needed a water pump shortly after I got it and I was on my own. Bought a repair manual for it and did it myself. From then on I wanted to learn more and just tried my best. Senior year in high school I got a 66 Nova for 1200 bucks. It had a power glide and a 350 in it. Me and my friend converted it to a m21 4speed. Looking back I still don't know how I figured it out! We didnt have the internet for help. Now days you can learn just about anything off the internet. Thats how I learned to paint my first car. I would say a lack of money and a strong desire can get you to do a lot on your own.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:08 PM
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I lived pre-teen up the road from Weaver's Garage run by Paul Weaver a world war II motor pool mechanic.My father never in his whole life owned a new house and was a machine machinist making parts for obsolete machines for Chevy.My dad would buy houses and strip them from them inside and remodel them totally.Build everything.Never bought pre-built cabinets,or counter tops.He build them all himself.He was a closet hot rodder.Shuck one car passed my mother when he bought a old cop car 348.LOL.
Paul took me under his arm giving me my first job.His garage was a full fledged repair shop.We did it all there with no job too big.I was the second person Paul had done that for.Paul has daughters so there was no one to pass on his knowledge.Yrs ago Paul did that with Dick Hake and he turned out to be a hell on wheels expert mechanic.Paul had his quirks.Wherever a part landed on a bench was Paul's organization and where he exactly remembered it was.Paul went on a vacation(the first one in yrs) and while he was away I decided I was going to surprise him cleaning up the shop against Dick's advise.Well Paul got back to work and on the first day back I could hear him swearing in the background.That was against the rules because Paul's God fearing wife would stop by from time to time.At the end of the day,Paul fired me.Said he couldn't find a damm thing.He let that set in for acouple of days before calling me back.

I in my entire life had a circle of friends that where hot rodders.From very early on with field cars of stick shift straight 8 Buick's and Poncho's. Then flat head Fords and my first hot rod was a Hemi swapped 53 Chevy.Certainly was spurred on my magazine articles too.I think I was 17 when I split the payments on my only new car with a high school buddy.His father was the vice president of used car sales at a Ford Dealership.It was a medium raiser dual quid 4 speed open rear end(it was his father's attempt to try to slow us down)4.11 427 side oilier.It was the height of muscle cars with GTO's,Buick Gran sports,Chevy's 409's,well really just after that,we used to have engine parties with friends at someones barn every wk to swap out someones engine.

Threw Niagara international raceway and Lancaster speedway a 1/8 track I ran M/P,early gassers and god knows how many E.T. cars while being
surrounded by some guys like Jimmie Oddy,Jim Janice of Jan-Cen auto,Peter Magel.Some who when on to national levels.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:10 PM
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Some of you were very fortunate. My dad didnt even know how to change the oil in his car. And we didnt have a lot of money. But I had a desire for cars that was just in me I guess. My first car was a 72 MGB. Got it for 500 bucks when I was 15. It needed a water pump shortly after I got it and I was on my own. Bought a repair manual for it and did it myself. From then on I wanted to learn more and just tried my best. Senior year in high school I got a 66 Nova for 1200 bucks. It had a power glide and a 350 in it. Me and my friend converted it to a m21 4speed. Looking back I still don't know how I figured it out! We didnt have the internet for help. Now days you can learn just about anything off the internet. Thats how I learned to paint my first car. I would say a lack of money and a strong desire can get you to do a lot on your own.


The internet holy crap has this changed things! My mom drove me over to a town about 25 miles away to go to a guys house who was a friend of my neighbor (who gave me my first job at his rod shop) who was chopping a top using an old Rod & Custom magazine where they chopped the Dream Truck. I looked over what he was doing and went home and chopped the top on my truck, this was 1974. It will still stop me in my tracks when I think of how easy it is to get rare parts, how easy it is go do things I never thought possible with the access to the net. It really is amazing.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:25 PM
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Brian is right about the influance from our parents. I have many of my dads personality traits. I also think providance has a lot to do with things. I know many will call it luck but I don't think so.

I left to join the Navy at 17 and requested mechanics. Of course they made an electrician out of me. They stationed me on a heavy cruiser that had an automatic dial phone system. When I was discharged I went to Fort Lauderdale and was offered a job by Bell South. Soon after I met my wife who was from East Tennessee and I transferred with the Telephone Co to Chattanooga.

Even as a young man I had a strong belief that there was a God even though I pretty much tried to ignore him. Without God's grace and influence I don't believe I could have put my life together the way it has played out. From a very unhappy teenager who tan off to join the service I was able lead a very good life. Married to the same woman for 45 years, wonderful daughter, great son-in-law, 2 great grandkids, retired from 2 companies, (at&t and Freightliner).

i love my old cars and really enjoy the challenge and satisfaction they bring me but this lady sitting beside me, my family, my friends, and my belief that Jesus Christ died for the atonement of my sins is what gives me the true joy in my life

Ok. Sermon is over.

John L
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:45 PM
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All while my Dad had gotten me a job as a engine tester at Chevy Tonn engine plant which lead me to a job in their Dyno Rm.
I've never been known to earn a living conventionally.After getting hurt at Chevy ending my job there,I at the same time had a interest in rock music.I got connected with the manager of Three Dog Night which brought me out to Calli and a new careen touring as mixing monitors.I worked for a touring company going out on tour 8 months of the yr.Stadium/Auditoriums all large show stuff. Sure seemed I was very-very,lucky with music and hot rods.Yeah girls too.LOL. After touring for a very longtime I woke up in a city not knowing where the hell I was.I saw that in Joan Jett and is scared the hell out of me.
My cousin had wired me that he had from his Ford dealership a factory sponsorship of a blown fuelly flopper.He knew how long I had been involved in racing cars and offered me the job as the driver.I took the job.Ran that car for awhile until a poorly cleaned track from a oil down in front of us ended in a serious crash with a numerous roll over.

Came back here ending back operating a local sound and light company where I met my partner.When the age limit was raised to 21 it limited the number of bar band's dates.So we had a chance to sell the company that proved the seed money for the current race operation/race parts business.

We started out just like everyone else.We when through a period where we had 5 different BBC's in the race car in 4 weeks.Sold it all and sat out for two yrs just developing the parts business.His wife told us without question either we find a way to make money racing or we where not going back.Again just luck to be with my partner and his very wise wife.While working deals at the auctions for parts resales we where surrounded by the brightest and the very best there is in the business to pick their minds.This ended in(well really hasn't ended) running/building engines for 9.90 cars,Jr Dragsters and building engines for the same and buying and selling race cars.It turned into a full time job.

For us it has always been Hot Rodding isn't something you do,it is who you are.No different than our Biker counterparts.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:57 PM
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Just want to add one more thing to the younger guys coming up.

When people tell you can't,there are always answers and solutions.It's then you dig in your heels.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:06 AM
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All while my Dad had gotten me a job as a engine tester at Chevy Tonn engine plant which lead me to a job in their Dyno Rm.
I've never been known to earn a living conventionally.After getting hurt at Chevy ending my job there,I at the same time had a interest in rock music.I got connected with the manager of Three Dog Night which brought me out to Calli and a new careen touring as mixing monitors.I worked for a touring company going out on tour 8 months of the yr.Stadium/Auditoriums all large show stuff. Sure seemed I was very-very,lucky with music and hot rods.Yeah girls too.LOL. After touring for a very longtime I woke up in a city not knowing where the hell I was.I saw that in Joan Jett and is scared the hell out of me.
My cousin had wired me that he had from his Ford dealership a factory sponsorship of a blown fuelly flopper.He knew how long I had been involved in racing cars and offered me the job as the driver.I took the job.Ran that car for awhile until a poorly cleaned track from a oil down in front of us ended in a serious crash with a numerous roll over.

Came back here ending back operating a local sound and light company where I met my partner.When the age limit was raised to 21 it limited the number of bar band's dates.So we had a chance to sell the company that proved the seed money for the current race operation/race parts business.

We started out just like everyone else.We when through a period where we had 5 different BBC's in the race car in 4 weeks.Sold it all and sat out for two yrs just developing the parts business.His wife told us without question either we find a way to make money racing or we where not going back.Again just luck to be with my partner and his very wise wife.While working deals at the auctions for parts resales we where surrounded by the brightest and the very best there is in the business to pick their minds.This ended in(well really hasn't ended) running/building engines for 9.90 cars,Jr Dragsters and building engines for the same and buying and selling race cars.It turned into a full time job.

For us it has always been Hot Rodding isn't something you do,it is who you are.No different than our Biker counterparts.
You sound like me in that you just "make it happen". What ever it takes you are going to have a job, if it takes learning a new thing, that's what you do, and they all bring new challenges that are welcomed.

Brian
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:10 AM
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Brian is right about the influance from our parents. I have many of my dads personality traits. I also think providance has a lot to do with things. I know many will call it luck but I don't think so.

I left to join the Navy at 17 and requested mechanics. Of course they made an electrician out of me. They stationed me on a heavy cruiser that had an automatic dial phone system. When I was discharged I went to Fort Lauderdale and was offered a job by Bell South. Soon after I met my wife who was from East Tennessee and I transferred with the Telephone Co to Chattanooga.

Even as a young man I had a strong belief that there was a God even though I pretty much tried to ignore him. Without God's grace and influence I don't believe I could have put my life together the way it has played out. From a very unhappy teenager who tan off to join the service I was able lead a very good life. Married to the same woman for 45 years, wonderful daughter, great son-in-law, 2 great grandkids, retired from 2 companies, (at&t and Freightliner).

i love my old cars and really enjoy the challenge and satisfaction they bring me but this lady sitting beside me, my family, my friends, and my belief that Jesus Christ died for the atonement of my sins is what gives me the true joy in my life

Ok. Sermon is over.

John L
Our parents do influence us that is for sure, sometimes as a lesson of what not to do. My father regretted everything he ever did. I mean just about every move he made in his entire life he regretted. I remember as a young man, 25 or so, I made up my mind I would never regret anything. I realized that we make decisions with the information we have at the time, of course that decision looks different when new information comes along! So we can't regret, we made a decision with that information and we move on. It has been a great help in my life and I think of him often in that regard, feeling sorry for him that he couldn't enjoy the moment because of something he did yesterday that he regretted.

Brian
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:12 AM
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I think much of our lives are influnced by our parents whether it be hunting fishing ,religon,or simple as cars.i remember my dad had a Henry L with a buick engine ,Red and yellow .?? also Flamed 53 Olds with a 59 olds 394 an X runner (moonshine car) the car not my dad,he also had many Hot Rods ,as we called them ,I think he had a positive influence as he always told me when i was young ,Own your own buisness ,find some thing you like you will always be better at the job if you like it, wont seem like work Worked for me..
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